BY NHAU MANGIRAZI/LORRAINE MUROMO
THE Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) yesterday vowed that its members who are yet to be vaccinated will continue reporting for duty in defiance of a government directive that unvaccinated civil servants should stop reporting for work.
This was after a Government Gazette of September 17 gave government workers until October 15 to get vaccinated or consider themselves fired.
In a statement yesterday, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said inasmuch as teachers supported the vaccination drive, it was meant to be a voluntary exercise rather than mandatory.
“We have read in the Press and from unsubstantiated utterances by government officials that non-vaccinated civil servants must stop reporting for work forthwith. As PTUZ we encourage teachers to be vaccinated, but by no means should such encouragement be misconstrued for mandatory vaccination, but voluntary vaccination,” Zhou said.
“The quandary over the issue of vaccination is that there was never an engagement between the government as employer and civil servants’ representatives (employees), particularly teacher unions. The order is, therefore, a unilateral declaration by government.”
Zhou said as unions they were encouraging their workers to continue reporting for duty until formal communication was made.
“We, however, advise teachers that it is unprocedural for them to stop going to work on the basis of generic communication that has no specific names. In terms of standard operational procedures, unvaccinated teachers must continue to report for work until they receive communications specifically in their names informing them to stop coming for work.
“Verbal instructions from school heads are invalid. We, however, encourage school heads to compile lists of all unvaccinated teachers at their respective schools and indicate reasons for non-vaccination and send to districts for onward conveyance to province, head office and the Public Service Commission (PSC) and wait for formal instructions from these respectable offices.
“Verbal instructions are legally void in the Public Service and we hope there would be written communications to teachers in the respective schools taking cognisance of reasons proffered for non-vaccination,” he said.
Zhou said he hoped that non-vaccination of civil servants would not be used to settle old scores in schools.
“Every case must be determined on its merits, and we encourage administrators, education officials and the PSC to navigate this quandary in a professional manner, never mind its one armed banditry origin.”
The issue of compulsory vaccination has been contested by workers, with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions recently suing several companies including Zimnat Insurance, the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara), TelOne, Windmill Limited, Seed Co Zimbabwe and the Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences for ordering their workers to get jabbed or lose their jobs.
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